Sennelier Watercolors

Sept 25, 2013

The colors, Duke, the colors!*

Playing around with my recently acquired honey watercolors. I love these shades - do you like 'em? 

Sennelier is one of the few artist quality brand of watercolors that offers paints that do not contain toxic chemicals, otherwise I really would have liked to try Schminke. 

*Reference to this 90's popsicle commercial from my childhood: 

Maui Sketchbook

August 7, 2013

So I’ve completely lost track of my intention to post on Mondays, but nobody’s paying attention, right? >_>

Some pages from my sketch book during the trip. I need to take these photos over because there are specks of dust visible in the same spot, on all photographs. BUGS ME. But, doesn't bug me enough to re-take them this week – life’s too busy! 

Maui II

Jul 30, 2013 

I’m behind schedule! I bought these two cards from the Bailey House Museum on Maui. I like the contrast of the stoic Hawaiian woman next to the bright, smiling young girls (Samoan, although they sure look mixed! Quite possible since this photo was taken in 1935). 

The last few hundred years of Hawaiian history are rough, and frankly pretty sad. I learned more about the movement toward Hawaiian sovereignty during our vacation. If you'd like to read more on it yourself, I recommend Professor Haunani-Kay Trask's webpage for resources: 

Rolleicord Strap

Jul 22, 2013

This post is somewhat related to our Maui trip. :P 

Before we left for the island, I thought about bringing my Rolleicord (I opted to bring the DSLR instead, it's okay, next time Mr. Rollei!), and wanted to make a neck strap to maximize the comfort of the leather strap (Gordy’s). The navy wool felt is vintage, picked from the selection at Creative Depot. Man, I love that place.

Simply double layered the felt, made topstitching with white to stand out, and added two buttonholes with the help of my trusty buttonholer – I love using this device. It's very satisfying.
I report that the neck strap is a welcome accessory, and crucial to carrying the camera around for even a few minutes. The Rolleicord weighs about the same as my DSLR: heavy! 

Maui I

Jul 21, 2013 

Oh, Maui, how I miss you already. I miss these sunsets, the cheaper tropical fruit! 

I’m going to do multiple blog posts about my trip spread over a few Mondays, starting tomorrow. Haven't decided how many posts, but there will be at least three.

Jun 19 2013


Someday I'd like to work more with wood, and I certainly love having it in the house, but Cop is an expert relative to me. I do plan on carving some spoons, being so inspired by Ariele of Brooklyn to West showing her good-lookin' spoons. In the meantime, please enjoy the story of Cop's monkeypod desk :) - Jeannie

Obligatory Moses photo. He always wants ‘in’ on the action, even if it involves power tools.

Hello! Cop here, doing a guest post on my latest amateur woodworking project. 

I grew up playing and assembling Legos, K'nex and Gundam models. I also begrudgingly grew up doing a lot of housework that included remodeling and wielding power tools. But when I combine those two, it turns out I'm a pretty decent woodworker (thanks dad...).

Some old projects of mine include a custom bed frame and refinished nightstands for our apartment.

I've been wanting a computer desk for a while now and I'll admit, my first thought wasn't to make my own. I looked around on Etsy to see what's available and was pretty floored at some of the beautiful pieces people were making. The problem was many quotes were overpriced and shipping costs didn't help either. I'm all for paying fellow craftspeople a fair amount, but when you can make your own stuff, it often doesn't take much money or time to make something great.

2 - 1'x4' monkeypod planks from Z&E Slabs here in Berkeley. I've never heard of monkeypod before but it's in the acacia family. Check out the nice grain and termite damage that gives it character! (It creeps out Jeannie)

4 - 28" custom 3-rod hairpin legs w/ clear coat from FuriousEndeavors on Etsy. These legs give it that mid-century look. Hairpin legs are available at a bunch of places online nowadays, often at a premium. I went with the stronger, 3-rod version and Lou was nice enough to apply a clear coat to prevent rust.

1 - Custom NYC wood crate drawer from Urban Wood Goods on Etsy. I was iffy on whether or not I needed a drawer, but I couldn't pass up this up. It adds to the reclaimed look I wanted.

1 - 24oz jar of Swilley's All Natural Wood Rub also from Urban Wood Goods. Natural oils and wax, that's all you need. Traditional wood finishes usually require gloves, a mask and good ventilation when applied. If a finish is that harsh and toxic during application, how does it magically become safe afterwards? All I needed for this finish was an old t-shirt to apply. Plus, it smells like oranges!

Aside from some screws, wood glue, and washers, that's really all that's needed.

Total Cost: $375
Time: I clamped the planks overnight for the glue to set, but in total it was only about 6 hours of actual working time.

Nice, right?

Jun 18, 2013

Pattern: My own. I drew inspiration from two sources: a Japanese knitting book, and the Speckled Hatfrom Hetterson’s collaboration with Frolic.

Materials: Madelinetosh hand dyed yarn, bulky weight. I really love this stuff; the colors are gorgeous! But, the yarn itself has an unusually unpleasant smell, a residual from the dye bath perhaps? It's the one (and only) thing that I dislike about this yarn.
The white yarn is from Sue Reuser's sheep less than 200 miles from here. It's also lovely to work with, traveling through my fingers very softly off the needles.

This hat was a speedy knit since the yarn is fairly bulky. It turned out smaller than I would like;  I intend on giving this one away, and making myself another big enough to comfortably cover my ears and not ride up during windy bike rides. The green Madelinetosh yarn above is what I intend to use for the second attempt at this hat. 

Doesn't my blue hat look like a true result of what would happen if the red speckled hat and green tree mitten made a baby? 

Jun 13, 2013

My first test roll from the Rolleicord VA. Lovely camera to shoot with, lots of fun. I'm so impatient and many of the photos on the precious roll of 12 were much too underexposed for my taste. I still like the result of a few!
Ektar 100. San Diego Botanical Garden and Berkeley Rose Garden. 

May 23, 2013

The shimmer and warmth of gold! Gold-filled faceted beads on silk cord, cinched at the back with a coconut button.

My smallest madder plant, and a new air plant: tillandsia ionantha guatemala. The colorful tips are fun!
Have a great weekend. Cop and I are flying down to San Diego for a quick vacation. B) 

May 21, 2013

Little crafting has been done because the lovely spring weather makes me want to be outside hiking and gardening. I have, however, recently acquired a Rolleicord VA and am slowly going through the first roll.

One day I may be able to sew my own clothes, but in the meantime, I am happy to wear very talented designers work. The dress above is from Anna Allen. It felt pretty blasphemous, but I had to do it – I added extra elastic to the back to accommodate my tiny bust :) No shame in a tiny bust, but clothing should fit well, no? 
That last blossom there smelled almost as good as my Miltonia orchid.

April 18, 2013

Warmer weather in California means STRAWBERRIES. Oh, how long I have waited to eat youCan’t wait for blueberries to come rolling into the farmer’s markets – I will be eating them by the handful. Can you say antioxidants?

I finished a hat, designed from melding two patterns together. An in-depth post to come. The beanie has a wintry pattern, and will be broken in at our upcoming Yosemite trip this month. 

And, a shot of babe Moses, for fun. 

March 28, 2013

Sketch of a tiger I was working on today, to flex my drawing muscles. 
Biked past the neighbor’s fence yesterday and spotted all of their blooming nasturtiums.    
Lovely, lovely shades of warm yellows, oranges and reds. I will spare you and show only two photos of the mini bouquet I picked.

Yeah...I really like cats. I swear I draw other animals!

In other news, I’ve picked up some drawing pen nibs and also am trying linoleum block cutting (e.g. stamp making!). The dip pens are to replace my usage of Sakura Microns and Faber Castells. I find that I get a much wider range of line widths with a single nib, and they’re a much more environmentally friendly alternative to disposable pens. I won’t oust disposables altogether because they are convenient in the work place, and when I travel I probably won’t want to bring my ink bottle(s) and nibs along, but for drawing at home I am doing away with the disposables. I attended a conference and heard Beth Terry of My Plastic Free Life, which re-ignited my interest in decreasing the amount of plastics I use and buy. 

March 18, 2013

Louisiana's Brown Pelican & Magnolia

Hawaiian Goose & Hibiscus Flower

Arizona's Cactus Wren and Saguaro 

I really enjoy naturalist artwork of state bird and plant paired together. Mara Murphy and Anna Branning do a lovely job with strong graphics and colors through their prints at dutchdoor. It inspires me to draw and paint!

The print for Hawaii makes me miss my childhood. Hibiscus flowers are like old friends of mine, who I only rarely see in the Bay. Perhaps I should plant some for myself?